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Sisi refuses to release former army minister Anan despite ill health

Former Egyptian Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan (C) delivers a speech in Cairo, Egypt on 13 March 2014 [Mohammed Bendari/Apaimages]
Former Egyptian Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan (C) delivers a speech in Cairo, Egypt on 13 March 2014 [Mohammed Bendari/Apaimages]

The fate of Egypt’s former military chief of staff Sami Anan remains unknown amid reports of poor health, after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi refused to release him from prison according to Al-Khaleej Online.

Sources close to Anan, 70, told reporters that he was transferred to the intensive care unit of a military hospital in the suburb of Maadi in Cairo on Saturday after a chest infection and back problems left him immobile.

Anan was detained by security forces after announcing his intention to run in Egypt’s presidential election against President Al-Sisi in January of this year. He suffered a stroke two months ago as a result of his detention, and has since remained in a military hospital, but his condition has recently deteriorated further.

READ: Egyptian parliament passes a law protecting army leaders from prosecution

Sisi Era - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Sisi Era – Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

The news comes amid Arab media reports that Al-Sisi has persisted in refusing to release Anan, despite high-ranking military officers campaigning on his behalf. The president has reportedly claimed that Anan smuggled sensitive security documents out of Egypt during the transition from the 2011 revolution, during which he served as deputy military head, an accusation Anan denied on arrest.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was re-elected for a second term in March, winning 97 per cent of the vote with turnout of 41 per cent. The election featured only one other candidate, an ardent Al-Sisi supporter, after opposition contenders halted their campaigns in January.

Anan, seen as Al-Sisi’s main challenger, was arrested and halted his presidential bid after the army accused him of running for office without permission, which it said was a breach of military law. Anan’s spokesman denied that he had broken any laws.

READ: New journalism law sparks anger in Egypt

Egypt has seen a dramatic suppression of freedom in the country and an increase in regulatory legislation since the ousting of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, action justified by the government as necessary for “national security”.

The Egyptian government has also launched a crackdown on anyone suspected of opposing Al-Sisi or his policies and has implemented laws that affect media organisations, journalists and NGOs.


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